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Question Number: 28717

Character, Attitude and Control 9/9/2014

RE: Adult

chuckles of phoenix, arizona usa asks...

I recently officiated a game as an AR It was a very frustrating experience. The center ref barely made it out of the center circle throughout the whole match. In addition to this he waved off 3 of my flags, 2 for fouls and 1 for a deliberate handball. I know that it is the centers prerogative if he wants to wave an ARs flag down, but what the heck does he need me for? At halftime I questioned him about the wave downs. He responded that he does not like to slow the game down by whistling for every infraction. I get that, but this was ridiculous! Especially because he was 40 yards away in all 3 situations! I have been a ref for 6 years now. I frequently get tired of working with know it all officials who feel they are more important than the game. They have their own 'style' of officiating. How about just calling the game the way its supposed to be called? You know, using the laws of the game? I don't claim to be the greatest ref in the world, but I try very hard to read, watch, and learn all I can about officiating. I still have a long way to go. Any advice on how to deal with stubborn and arrogant refs?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

When you are the AR, you need to forget about what you would call if you were the referee, and assist the referee by calling what the referee is calling when it is clear that the referee didn't see what happened.

Moreover, when they wave down you flag, you have to let it go. I know that when I am an AR, when I am still thinking about what the referee did on an earlier event, I am very likely to make a mistake on the next one.

Note: assignors want your input on referees who no longer have the fitness to stay close to play or may no longer be able to handle matches at levels they used to do well. It is not being disloyal to let the assessor know what happened. It helps us all.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Ultimately it's the referees game to call. Assistants are there to assist not to insist. Yes we all don't like to have flags waved down and it can be hard to take. However if the referee has decided that he does not want the flag then so be it. My approach in those situations is to then only concentrate on the parts of my game that I have responsibility for which is offside and ball out of play. I recall one game where I was out with a referee who had previously waved down flags. If the referee was looking at the incident and he did not see a foul I simply kept the flag down. If questioned I referred the calls to the referee.
I was AR in a game recently and the CR missed what I thought were three fouls. He had a good view so I decided not to get involved as they were outside my control area. His foul threshold can be higher than other referees so he does not need an AR flagging when he has decidd otherwise with as good a view. I was challenged by the technical staff even for fouls that were not called 50 yards away. I focused on my game and ensured that I got my decision 100% correct. An assessor will question the CR on no calls and may only involve the AR in unseen VC or missed misconduct.
I was also center in a recent semi final and the senior AR to say the least was trying to ref the game in his half. I only disagreed with one flag which I took and it was way out of his area of control. Even the players looked confused as to what was given which was for a push. Now a colleagues who was spectating pointed out to me after the game that there was no need for the AR to be as involved as he was as I had got all the calls.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Wow Chuckles, I got a chill burrrr! you sure you were not peeking over my shoulder a few minutes ago?? Plus your name is the nick of a good friend and colleague Maj. Charles W. Fleischer, Jr aka Maj. Chuckles who died a few years back. I think, given your distaste for those who you think are not applying the LOTG appropriately, he could have been an excellent mentor for you.

It is interesting to get your question, as only moments ago before you sent it I was incorporating very similar advice in response to a new, very eager referee, who is practically bursting at the seams to be the best referee he could hope to be. question 28714 also look at question 28652 in fact any question to do with referee or mechanics

I fully recognize the frustration of coaches, players, parents, fans and yes even ARs (I have been all of them over 50 years worth lol) witnessing the game management techniques of a center referee who, in their opinion or ( is it now considered a fact? ;o) is having a less than perfect game! Unrealistic expectations by those who look upon any referee officiating a soccer match as if we are to be perfect and yet get steadily better.

You will find in any soccer venue there will be varying levels of competence and skill displayed among those who participate. 'In the opinion of the referee', the much chanted mantra of our profession is an essential ingredient in the profile of a competent referee but will also form the basis for a less competent one as well!

Comments that reflect a referee's integrity and abilities are not always unjustified, whether they are appropriate or not is another matter. We must consider the source and type of comments if we are sincere in raising the standards of officiating but they should presented in a format that is helpful to the league to deal with. It can be painful and exasperating to endure what you have no control over and little satisfaction for a job well done, if indeed, it is not. Agreeing to disagree and move on sounds sensible during a match but frequently the crisis's which perpetuate the conflict are then, never resolved! You ask for advice on how to deal with stubborn and arrogant refs? You realize they do not like being ignored anymore than you do right?

Speaking as a neutral colleague, let me be blunt!
You control you, only you, I worry your concern/distraction over what the other CR was or wasn't doing affects your own responsibilities?
I gather this is not your 1st encounter with a less than enthusiastic partner on the field of play?
So are you doing anything that is different each time?
They say madness is doing the same things over and over expecting a different result!

You noticed the CR's action but did you examine your own actions?
Did you have a good solid pregame?
What did you discuss or what was told to you?
Did you ASK the referee any questions during the pregame?
Were you always with the second last defender?

Did you get every offside decision correct?
Were you watching what was going on behind play!

Did you spot each and every ball out of play?
Were you aware of any dissent or attitudes of the surrounding players, the coaches?
Were the players at risk?
Were they having fun?
You did and do address your concerns to the CR at the midpoint of the match, correct?
Was there a decent Post game chit chat after each match or were you so upset you left quickly? What format is there to record and report misconduct or actions of officials within your association?
Did you report the conduct of this or any official in a way that might improve his awareness to anyone that could have influence?

When your turn comes to hold the centre whistle what advice will you or do give your ARs?
What if they disagree with you, how do you want them to make it known to you?

Failure to communicate effectively, not being able to sit down over a coffee or brewsky and hold an honest conversation at the end of a disturbing match is difficult to want to do. There are no guarantees that making known your concerns will be taken favorably or even considered at all, such is the risk of human interaction! But from my window of view, you take up the challenge of compassionate confrontation to settle the issue early, rather than have to pound in the nails of a coffin later.

This was one experience on that great learning curve of wisdom! You learned that you did not wish to follow his example to referee a match, nor his decision making processes nor enhance his reputation.

Lets face it, is an easy thing to spout the usual protocol stuff. The AR is there to assist not insist. 'During a match you act professionally!', but as the majority of us in the recreational and community trenches us 'non professionals' trying to improve our skills, have some fun, make a bit of pocket change and help the community to enjoy the beautiful game we question ourselves when the disbelief, hurt, irritation and anger builds at the perception you are being ignored and your efforts are disregarded as unimportant!

The danger of self pity is for those around you watching and listening, feeding upon your frustration to fuel their own dissent and unrest, inflaming the situation.
You support your colleague and work within the limits of his knowledge to the best of YOUR knowledge and ability.
The game is for the players. Their safety and their fun!

DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN to ensure this is so. Set aside the differences and focus on what is important !Time for soul reflection in the post game and then you can decide on a course of action you feel is beneficial for the good of the game!

Remember each referee sets the table but HIS MATCH, HIS DECISION, HIS REPUTATION, are based of what he does.

Be sure when it is YOUR MATCH! YOUR DECISION! YOUR REPUTATION! it is based on what you do! You want to make a valid statement? Do it better, change the perceptions!

I pass along this sage bit of advice, as it holds true in life, as well as soccer!
Do not concern yourself with the apathy that plagues others. It is how one deals with adversity that introduces the character of a man to himself. A wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it. Water, over time, is a force of nature, eventually wearing down all obstacles before it!


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